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Pinwheels Raise Awareness About Addiction

Public prayer vigils being held

STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - A vibrant display in the Poconos is shedding light on a dark problem nationwide. It's an epidemic that has devastated thousands of families, and maybe even yours.

Outside the Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church, you'll see 210 pinwheels on display. Each represents a Monroe County life lost in the past few years because of addiction.

Danielle and Ben Weiss met and fell in love as teenagers. Early on in the relationship, they packed a 1970's Volkswagen bus and traveled cross-country.

"He loved adrenaline, he loved life," Danielle Weiss recalls.

The couple eventually got married and had three kids. Still, they'd always think back to that spontaneous road trip.

Weiss adds, "that's probably, outside of the children, one of our absolute best memories and something we has said we would do again with them."

But that day will never come.

Last month at 41-years-old, Ben lost his hard-fought battle with addiction, which started after a painful four-wheeling accident in 2002.

"In time that prescription ran out, but the need for the prescription did not," Weiss explains.

He, and hundreds more, are being remembered through a pinwheel display outside the Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church.  

"It's just an overwhelming thing to see. And we're not talking about an issue, we're talking about lives and people," says Lynda Keefer, Co-lead Pastor, Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church.

Ben's sister, Jennifer, says this it's one small way to raise awareness.

"We need to get a handle on this as a community, nationwide. It's out of control," Jennifer Weiss of Stroudsburg explains.

This is not the next journey Danielle had prepared for.

She adds, "it's not just about us as a family being robbed of him, but he wasn't done."

The church is hosting a public prayer vigil on Wednesday, September 19th at 7:15 PM for anyone affected by addiction.

The Monroe County Opiate Task Force organized the pinwheel display, which will move to The Mountain Center later this month. https://www.stroudsburgwesleyan.org/


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